Monday, 30 November 2009

Back Again

Hi Everyone

We are back in Runaway Bay again after our little trip down the Pacific Highway, we managed to get as far as Forsters which is just on the out skirts of Sydney. We camped most of the way except for the last two nights when we got a cabin the reason being that a tropical storm was heading our way and we had only borrowed the tent and didn't fancy trying to find it after the storm. The trip its self was fantastic, never having been down the east coast before there were lots of places we wanted to see, if anyone is interested our route was or I should say places visited were Byron Bay, Lenox Head, Yamba, Minnie Waters, Palmer Island, Nambucca Head, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Crowdy Bay, Forsters that was as far south and then on the way back we went inland to Doririgo. Bellagen, Booti Boot National Park, Woolgoolga, Naborioa Rain Forest, Crossing the country in this was you cross some very strange places with some wonderful sounding names such as: Dead Cow Creek, Tom Cat Creek, Diggers Camp, Billy's Swamp, Koukandowie Mountain and my favourite was Bald Nob Creek now I want to know where that name was conjured up from. The driving was quite good we had hired a relatively new car so it performed well the only draw back is they are all automatic Noreen is quite good now at going up a 1 in 5 changing from auto to manual on the run it really takes some getting use to give me a good gear box any day. Everyone we me were very friendly and always giving advice on special places of interest things are so relaxed on the camping trail everyone does it because the facilities are so good on the sites they have these fantastic communal kitchens where you just take your own food and cook it either BBQ or on the cooker all free or in our case there was always someone to show you the best way to BBQ and share there meal table a really great way of getting to know people .

Back to normal for a week on Tue next week we are off up to Cairns that's north towards the Barrier Reef.

The weather is hot 42 most of the time its hard finding shade to cool off ??????? sorry to hear of your bad weather he he he.

Speak Soon

Big Al DownUnder

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Fishing trip dedicared to Matthew & Keith

My new Aussie mate Keith

This is the final catch brought ashore I am holding a Tailor fish right hand a Mulloway left hand
and in the foreground on jetty two Flat Heads

This the first fish a Mullaway

G;Day Folks
Your old bonza mate here,

Just to keep you informed that today I went fishing with my new Ausie mate Keith (all Keith's fish) he's a right dincum bloke, we set out in his tinny (a small aluminium dinghy with a outboard) in the UK one wouldn't go across the pond in one but here they are made of harder stuff and set sail in anything that floats, the beauty of it is if you capsize or fall in you don't die of Hypothermia, or Gastric-enteritis you just swim ashore.
So I was collected from the slip way at 06.00 by this time Keith had already caught the bait by using a casting net (remember pictures of Jesus casting nets same thing) We set of at break neck speed for the outer breakwater the boat was only in the water long enough to project us another 3ft above the oncoming waves before crashing down again with a spine breaking crack. On reaching the fishing area Keith had chosen, this happened to be the end of the breakwater were the two waters meet making it very rough water, Keith gave a quick rundown on the fishing techniques and off we started .You will all be pleased to know that I didn't let the Pommie side down and had two in the boat before Keith got a bite. The actual fishing was prolific with fish coming in the boat every couple of minutes. these fish fight like hell and we both love the noise of "Screaming Reels" Keith is very hot on conservation and only legal size fish were taken so lots were returned to fight another day, After three hours of being tossed around like a cork in a bottle we eventually ran out of bait and decided to call it a day.
On returning to the jetty the fish were cleaned and filleted, heads, scraps and bits were thrown to the waiting pelicans, Boat hauled onto the trailer and off for a cappuccino at Keith's house that is only 200 yards from the jetty

Now if anyone can think of a more perfect day then you must tell.

Big Al

Hi Everyone

Wednesday we borrowed the car for the first time its automatic so that through me at first but having gone down the main road a mile or two and collected a few ageing Aussie of the front bumper I so got the hang of things. We had a lovely ride out to a place called Burliegh heights were we had a very nice lunch however this time I skipped the pud that last one did for me.
We then went on to Tweed head were you cross the border into New South Wales, we remember it from the our last visit because its such an unspoilt part of the coast. Our day out was curtailed by a storm coming in off the sea using the Motor way its about an hours run back to the apartment that's if I didn't get lost anyhow we made it without getting too wet, we had been back about 20mins when the storm reached us and what a great sight by this time it was dark and we were treated to a fantastic display of sheet and fork lightning combined with the roar of the sea and the howling wind it was just wonderful. The apartment is 15 floors up and looking out over the ocean the storm looked so spectacular though at times a bit disconcerting.
The next morning all was calm and serene as if nothing had ever been it a weired place???
This morning we went on yet another walk this time looking for the local Catholic church we soon found it by listening for the wailing and gnashing of teeth (private joke) actually we followed the kids with blazers with St Xaviours on it. The walk this time was quite successful we even found the local shopping mall so Noreen could get some retail therapy in which of course makes my going fishing easier.

Other than enjoying the sun, sea, sand and Scenery not much else to say

Be Good be Kind
Surfers taking an early wave

Two intrepid explorers

Noreen "Ask me am I bothered" Mood

Buggerlugs Downunder

Monday, 16 November 2009

Hi Folks

Noreen Cleaning the Pool

Busy day down the broadwater

Noreen and her little sister
Yesterday Noreen and I went for a short walk along the broadshore, I needed some new hooks and weights for fishing and I thought sure we would find a shop along the way. what I did't take into account was that it was Sunday and its like mayhem the place is packed with boats pleasure sun seekers, nudist bathers boaters, wind surfers. kite surfers, jet skiers, and grannies doing BBQ'S. We joined the throng and walked along quite merrily enjoying the weather and soaking up the atmosphere but like all things good in live it had to end. Yes you have it I had got us lost, well that's not quite true I could still see the apartment block yes it was only a shadow in the heat haze but it did give me a marker. we made our return journey in relative silence and my map reading skills were not mentioned after 2 hours of walking in 97% I said there you are only 500 yards from the apartment, that was great until pathfinder Noreen informs me we were on the wrong side of the river But using my homing skills like a well trained frontiersmen I managed to get us back just over the three hour mark and No I didn't managed to buy any hooks Roger took me in the car 5 mins from here. the other way??
We went to Rogers and Mary's other house yesterday they have bought it to let and use as an office our job was to clean the pool I always wanted to be a pool cleaner ever since I saw the graduate but all I got for this one was a ice lollies I must be loosing my fatal charm ???
Speak soon folks

Big Al

Saturday, 14 November 2009


Mary and Noreen on Moolooaba Beach

Family BBQ

Mark cooking the BAR BE on the beach all you do is turn up with your food push the button and use the BBQ you are expected to clean it after us

My little piece of cake

Hi Folks g'day

Yesterday we went to Mooloolaba just up the coast about 60 miles which in Aus is a short drive. great day lunch at the Surf club then afternoon tea at the coffee and cake shop how else would I be spending the day, Today Saturday I started at 5.30 with a walk down to the beach fore a bit of fishing I caught tow Brim and one sole none big enough to take so there all went back. This afternoon was BBQ afternoon Mark Nadine and Nadines sister and baby came up so we all went down to the beach great afternoon of steak but and beer sun sand sea and salad what more could you ask for.

Love you all

Big Al

Thursday, 12 November 2009

view from the appartment.

Dubai airport


Thursday 12 arrived yesterday 9.30pm

We have arrived in the antipodes’ visiting our Australian relies, how we got here is a different matter its best if I explain in stages otherwise you will be as confused as we were.

Manchester to London Heathrow starting our journey with a 04.00 taxi drive didn’t get the trip off to such a good start our flight to London was to take off at 06.30 so book in was 2 hours prior which would have been 04.00 we arrived only to have to wait another hour for them to open the book-in desk having done that we still had 45mins to kill so we thought coffee and breakfast ,well at 1.59 for two bits of toast I decided against such extravagance. Anyhow back to the flight we get on board the aircraft only to sit on the tarmac another hour because they were waited for some freight to be loaded and missed the airspace consequently that meant arriving in London 1 hour later which entailed us doing a the 100m dash across Heathrow from terminal one to terminal three it would have been easy if we spoke Urdu, Spanish, Arabic or Swahili as no signs were in bloody English and none of the staff spoke bloody English. We arrived at the Book-in desk with seconds to spare. Great I thought made it. Then it started we were told we would not be seated together as the aircraft was full and the only two seats that were left were not together. At this point I kicked off big style reminder the Lady that I had pre booked my seats and that it was not our fault we were delayed and that to give my seat away was illegal and the fact that I was getting rather pi—ed off with the cowboy outfit and I hadn’t left the UK yet. Though by the time we reached the aircraft they had miraculously found two seats together. The flight from London to Dubai went without incident except that my tv didn’t work but I thought I had done enough shouting and needed a rest.

In Dubai we were allowed to depart foe 20min but it takes 20min to walk off the plane into the airport and back to the departure gate and of course time for Noreen to have the compulsory FAG on getting back on board the pilot informed us that he was having an argument with the authorities about the number of passengers we had and the number they said we had this disagreement lasted an hour an hour we sat on the bloody again. The flight to Brunei was again uneven full

Brunei to Brisbane of course being kept on the tarmac in Dubai we were late arriving in Brunei which meant another dash across an airport this time everyone spoke English because all those who don’t speak English are working at Heathrow just as we reached the boarding gate we were called for to report to the flight booking desk, Ah Mr Hodgkinson London called and asked us to ensure that you and Mrs Hodgkinson are seated together that’s ok said I the seats on the boarding card are fine, no she said we have new seats for you. Great I thought shouting works, on getting on the aircraft I find a 7ft 18stone guy sat in my newly allocated seat now the steward was only 5ft and 10stone so who would you have a go at now this time I really kicked off on a full plane I even offered to sit with the pilot as that was the only so far that I hadn’t been offered. After ten minutes peace was restored and we were told that they had again miraculously found two seats together which on looking at our boarding card were the same two seats we were originally allocated. We arrived in Brisbane without any further incidents. Now if you can follow that then you are better than me because I am still trying too However we are here and its great the weather today is cool at 27 which in our terms is about 82 but of course this is late spring the summer is next month.

Speak soon

just about to have my first G&T of the hols